The LA Chargers’ 2020 season is getting closer and closer.
We have been counting down the days until the LA Chargers will be back in action here at Bolt Beat. Counting today, we are officially 44 days away from the Bolts’ Week 1 showdown against first overall pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. That is, as long as the 2020 season goes ahead as planned.
To count down the season, we have been naming the best players in franchise history to wear each number that coincides with the number of days remaining until that scheduled Week 1 showdown.
Thus far, there have been only two active Chargers — Melvin Ingram and Sam Tevi, of all people — to earn the honor of being the best to ever wear their number. That trend continues today with another former player.
The number 44 has not been a spectacular one in the history of the Chargers, so the best player to ever wear the number is not someone who was particularly elite in any way.
Greatest number 44 in LA Chargers’ history: Martin Bayless
Martin Bayless was a starting strong safety for the Chargers from 1987 to 1991. Bayless began his career with the Buffalo Bills and ended it with the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Football Team. All in all, Bayless spent 13 years in the league.
Bayless was a starter most of the time that he was in the league and he was a solid one at that. He was an above-average strong safety that was not talented enough to be a Pro Bowler but was talented enough to keep his job and not be a liability on the defensive side of the football.
Bayless started 66 games for the Chargers in his five seasons with the team and recorded 291 solo tackles, 7.5 sacks and three interceptions. He never had more than one interception in a season for the Bolts and set a career-high in sacks with three in 1990.
In those five seasons, Bayless accumulated 37 combined career Approximate Value with the Chargers. That is the most that any player that has worn the number ever earned, with Chris Fletcher coming in at second place with 21 career AV in seven seasons.
Since retiring, Bayless has bounced between various administrative and coaching roles, most recently being the special teams’ coordinator and safeties coach for the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL.
Bayless was solid for what he was but he certainly is not a player that will go down in the Chargers’ history books nor one that most fans are going to remember.